Epic Games have confirmed that Fortnite will be available on next-gen consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, at launch, as they continue to use it as a leading example of the use of their in-house Unreal Engine.
This news comes as they confirm that their current Unreal Engine 4.25 already supports both next-gen platforms, and as Epic reveal some of the new technologies – Lumen and Nanite – being added in Unreal Engine 5.
Unreal Engine 5 will not be widely available until late 2021, but as soon as it’s ready Epic will also be porting Fortnite over to the new game engine in mid-2021. This will show off the fact that other developers can make a similarly seamless jump, starting development now on UE4 and then migrating over to UE5 when it’s ready.
Admittedly, Fortnite isn’t exactly a cutting edge visual showcase, what with its cartoony art style, but has handily shown the game engine’s ability to handle large scale environments, large player counts, and even the ability to host live music concerts that are beamed to millions of players at the same time. It’s also a perfect example of just how incredibly scalable the game engine is. Unreal Engine 5 will be compatible with next-gen consoles, current-gen consoles, PC, iOS and Android.
If you want to see what Unreal Engine 5 is really capable of though, you’ll want to check out Epic’s Lumen in the Land of Nanite demo, which the company released showcasing what’s possible in real time on PlayStation 5, and by extension Xbox Series X.
The demo shows off Nanite, which takes the ultra-detailed objects found in the Quixel Megascan library and uses the cinematic versions of these in real time on PlayStation 5, dynamically rendering the detail with millions of polygons that are dealt with on a pixel level. Not exactly Fortnite fodder, but the Lumen lighting system certainly will be, allowing Epic to stop using baked lighting and shadowing in favour of a real time solution that can handle the way that light bounces off the environment to light it from a single bright source, such as the sun. That could definitely lead to increased dynamism in the cartoony world of Fortnite.
While we had expected to see Fortnite be playable on next-gen consoles at launch, thanks in part to both Microsoft and Sony committing to backward compatibility, it’s great to hear that Epic will be bringing a native version of the game enhanced to take advantage of the added power that they provide. The things that Unreal Engine 5 can then provide in 2021 are just icing on the cake.